How To Record a Track in Pro Tools 8

Pro Tools 8, the industry-standard DAW from Avid can be a bit daunting for the guitarist attempting to record their first track.  Here’s a step-by-step tutorial:

Open Pro Tools on your computer. I’m using the M-Powered version, but the LE and HD versions are very similar. Pro Tools will look for an approved interface, in this case the M-Audio Transit, and an iLok key. Be sure you have both connected. (LE users will need to be sure their Digidesign interface is connected.)

You should see a prompt like this:

New Session

You can create a session in two ways, using the preset “Create Session from Template” button, or starting from scratch with “Create Blank Session”. I recommend you spend some time exploring the Templates. They are typical of session setups that pros use, with appropriate plug-ins and mixer settings. Even if they don’t match your plans exactly, you can learn a few tricks and tips on how to set up a session and use that info to create your own custom template that reflects your preferences.

The session parameters options allow you to select the Audio File Type and the Sample Rate. I’m using the default settings on this tutorial, but you can adjust these to your liking.


Ballad Guitar Template.

The above is a “Ballad Guitar” template session’s opening screen.  The tracks are already created, including Aux tracks and effects.

To create your own new track, use the shortcut “Shift/Apple (command)/N” or click on the “Track” tab at the top of the screen.


New Track

The default setting is one mono audio track. Click “Create” to initiate your first track.


Rename Track

Once your track is created, it is best to name it. Double-click the “Audio 1” button and the above screen will appear.

Re-name with comments

I am recording an acoustic guitar, so I label this track AcGtr. If you are adding multiple tracks, take advantage of the “Next” button and name them all at once.

Abbreviated names are helpful as screen space is valuable. Pro Tools give you the chance to make notes at this point, so I often archive the recording chain and the instrument being recorded, in case I need to re-create this sound for any reason.

Click “OK” when you are done.

Record Ready


To get the track ready for recording, click on the red button beneath the track name. It will begin to flash, indicating that the track is ready to record.


Recording track

Click the Record button, either on the Transport or at the top of the screen. The Record light will flash until you click the Play button. Pro Tools begins to record your AcGtr track. Congratulations!

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